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Thread: Some Non-trivial Things That Annoy Me.

  1. #3601
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    The growing tendency of universities to featherbed their students by insulating them from opinions that might offend them. This is not good life preparation.

    A university near here issues a huge "attitudes" questionnaire to new arrivals, so that they can be placed in accommodation with others who share their attitudes and opinions. So they're moving the filter bubble effect into real life - whoopee. (Didn't half the fun of university lie in having long outraged arguments, late into the night? Surely that wasn't just me.)
    More distressingly, a friend's daughter, who has significant difficulties that I won't share here, is now accommodated with three other young women with exactly the same issues - in the few weeks since the term began, they've massively reinforced the dysfunctional aspects of each other's world-views and seem to now be in real danger of doing themselves harm. Meanwhile, across the quad, there's a dormitory block that throbs with continuous parties, to which the police are sometimes called.

    I mean, who could possibly have predicted all this?

    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  2. #3602
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The growing tendency of universities to featherbed their students by insulating them from opinions that might offend them. This is not good life preparation.
    This does seem to be a growing issue in the US. I didn't know it was also true in the UK.

    (Didn't half the fun of university lie in having long outraged arguments, late into the night? Surely that wasn't just me.)
    It was for me. Heck, that was half my fun of high school. I had a group of friends who would spend half the night in such arguments.

    I understand the idea of not forcing people to tolerate things that are truly hateful or harmful. Bullying is a good example. Inappropriate physical contact. Derogatory or racist language. The response used to be that the person being abused need to "man up" and learn to put up with such hate (I know I had to put up with it). I'm glad that we as a society are deciding that this isn't acceptable.

    But that is different than being exposed to concepts and ideas that oppose ones beliefs. Being personally called "the n word" is not acceptable; having to read Huckleberry Finn in a literature class is. I'm afraid that universities may have gone too far.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  3. #3603
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    I read of non platforming, which directly contradicts free speech and the Orwellian point of free speech. Ie the right in a free society to tell other people things they dont want to hear. That obviously includes unpopuplar minorities as well as the silent majority, whatever that is. But i hear every day how going to university or college as they call it now, is stressful and students need counselling on how to cope! Maybe the increased proportion of all young people that now expect further education has changed the ďability to cope?Ē This ability is not academic i guess but the extra social interactions. The generations really are moving apart.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  4. #3604
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The growing tendency of universities to featherbed their students by insulating them from opinions that might offend them. This is not good life preparation.
    Infuriating.

    The point of college is to educate, and not just in the subjects. To broaden experience. The fact that they isolate students like that stunts their personal growth and does the opposite of what such schools are supposed to do!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #3605
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I had a doctor appointment this morning and was complimented on my blood pressure. Good thing they aren't taking it now....

    About 10 days ago, we had the cable company out to install in our new house. They couldn't make it work, and we had to have another tech the next day. He got one TV going but forgot to activate the box for the additional one. We didn't know that because we hadn't moved it in yet. And our router, at least according to them, is broken.
    A couple of days later the phone company was due. If you recall, we are on a combined lot running between two streets. All of our utilities were put in running up from the original street. The phone company installer flat refused to connect it that way.
    So, we went out to the cable company office and upgraded our service, ordering better TV, better internet, and getting the phone through them. That was to be installed today.
    Then we finally moved in and brought the second TV up. Oops, box not activated. Called them. After a significant period on hold I was told they couldn't do that without rescheduling our installation. No, don't do that.
    I also called the phone company and told them NOT to come out and dig up the new street because are considering our options. Maybe that was a mistake....

    Fast forward to today. Cable install scheduled between 12:00 and 2:00. 2:30 came and no installer. I called them and managed to find an automated voice which confirmed our installation on November 7, a week out. What?! I tried to reach a real person but they just don't answer. So I drove out to the local office again. The VERY helpful young lady there (they're all young compared to me) first confirmed that she had set it up for today. And spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out what happened. Best she could tell, the phone company put a hold on the number because they had an installation pending. That would be the installation they refused to do. Or maybe it was because I called them...

    Even if the problem was due to the phone company, why didn't the cable company notify me of the change?

    Anyhow, it's not been a good day, mostly. I'm dining on dry red wine. I'll probably grill a cheese, because I need some comfort food.
    (A little late to the response)

    This reminded me of an issue I had in grad school. I moved into a studio apartment, and when I was getting my phone line set up I had a delay. There was an unpaid bill on either that address or that phone line they assigned me, and I had to prove I didn't live there at the time the bill was due. No big deal, right? No, this was 1998. I was 3 states away from home and school hadn't started yet so I knew nobody. Worst part, I didn't have a cell phone. I don't even know how I got it cleared up. I know I had to use a pay phone to make any calls, and go to a kinkos or something to fax in my proof. I must have had multiple days when there was no way anyone could reach me. Can you even imagine that now?

  6. #3606
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkinpie View Post
    (A little late to the response)

    This reminded me of an issue I had in grad school. I moved into a studio apartment, and when I was getting my phone line set up I had a delay. There was an unpaid bill on either that address or that phone line they assigned me, and I had to prove I didn't live there at the time the bill was due. No big deal, right? No, this was 1998. I was 3 states away from home and school hadn't started yet so I knew nobody. Worst part, I didn't have a cell phone. I don't even know how I got it cleared up. I know I had to use a pay phone to make any calls, and go to a kinkos or something to fax in my proof. I must have had multiple days when there was no way anyone could reach me. Can you even imagine that now?
    I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with the landline phone company today. Apparently the account is closed but they need to reinstate it in order to close it. No wonder that's a dying industry.

    Meanwhile, it's been quite a 24-hours. We were out most of yesterday and I was really tired upon getting home. At which time I discovered a water leak in the new garage. The floor of which is covered with boxes of books and papers and such. After a time, I figured out that the water was coming from the bottom of a filter housing (because we asked for the best possible water system; the community water being pretty bad), and then had to figure out how to set the three ball valves on the wall to isolate it. All opposite the original positions turned out to work: Drip stopped, still had water in the house.
    This morning I came into the office and heard an odd noise. Hmm, is that the alarm, for the septic system? Which is so complicated it has a dang computer to control it? Why yes, it is. I pushed the button to silence the alarm, but the light was still one.

    So I spent several hours talking to the builders, the plumbers, the septic folks, etc. The septic guy asked if we'd had a toilet running. Yes, in fact, we had. OK, too much water, stop the toilet and it'll eventually reset itself. I think it probably has. The plumber finally came by noonish and found the drain plug in the bottom of the filter housing to be loose. Tightened it. Ok, seems to be working, but why did it happen yesterday when the system has been on for a couple of months?

    Then the phone company, as noted above.

    But at least I'm down to almost nothing left in the old house.

    I'm too old for this. I should have built the dream house at 40, not 70.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  7. #3607
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I understand the idea of not forcing people to tolerate things that are truly hateful or harmful. Bullying is a good example. Inappropriate physical contact. Derogatory or racist language. The response used to be that the person being abused need to "man up" and learn to put up with such hate (I know I had to put up with it). I'm glad that we as a society are deciding that this isn't acceptable.
    And far too often, that's what people mean when they say people are being protected too much. I know it would be extremely uncomfortable to be LGBT and housed with someone whose belief was that you were a child molester because of it or what have you. Though without seeing the questionnaire, I can't say whether I agree or disagree with what they're trying to do.

    But that is different than being exposed to concepts and ideas that oppose ones beliefs. Being personally called "the n word" is not acceptable; having to read Huckleberry Finn in a literature class is. I'm afraid that universities may have gone too far.
    This is the ideal of trigger warnings--know it's there so you can have it not sprung on you out of nowhere, and if you know it's something you can't handle (reading about a rape if you have rape-related PTSD, for example), opt out. They aren't supposed to be to prevent people from exposure to things they just don't like. They're actually mandated in my discussion groups for that reason--and I put a trigger warning on one of my own articles once, because Wertham completely glosses over some really horrific stuff in one chapter of Seduction of the Innocent, and in my analysis of the book, I unpacked everything he didn't talk about.
    _____________________________________________
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  8. #3608
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Though without seeing the questionnaire, I can't say whether I agree or disagree with what they're trying to do.
    I have not seen the questionnaire either, so am describing it through the filter of a pair of anxious (and now distressed) parents.
    In addition to questions about race, gender and attitudes to sex, there were questions about religion, politics, socializing and study. All answers optional, as was the entire questionnaire. My understanding is that you marked up either a visual analogue scale or some sort of closed scoring system indicating your level of agreement with a number of statements. The declared intention in the covering letter was (it has been reported to me) to place students with "like minded individuals".

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-Nov-15 at 05:00 PM.
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  9. #3609
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    And, lest there be any doubt, it occurs to me to point out that those of us who grew up under the old regime of casual sexism and racism combined with bullying and harassment have actually worked pretty hard to try to stop that sort of thing happening to the students under our tutelage. But all of us can tell an anecdote or two about students complaining of being undermined when a teacher pointed out that they had given the wrong answer to a question - we were in fact encouraged to avoid yes/no questions in particular, since correcting a wrong answer of this form could be seen as unnecessarily challenging and demoralizing.
    Towards the end of my time at work I spent three days doing viva exams - on the second day we were told that those of us who needed reading glasses should avoid looking at the student over the top of the glasses, since this could be interpreted as intimidating. By the end of the day, several complaints had been received that the examiners were attempting to intimidate the students by whipping their glasses on and off all the time. And one student asked for a retest because he had underperformed as a result of being undermined by the examiner's surprised expression in response to one of his answers.
    These are medical students. In a couple of years' time, someone they're treating is going to threaten to sue them or stab them (or once, memorably in my case, both), and they're going to have to carry on doing their jobs properly.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  10. #3610
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    There is a crosswalk on my way to my favorite park. It has a sign declaring, "Vehicles yield to pedestrians". Ok, share the road and all that.

    The other day I was driving down the street with the crosswalk and noted a woman on a bicycle coming down the center of the street at the crosswalk. I started to slow because this looked like trouble. It was.

    I went through the crosswalk and nearly came to a stop when the woman on the bicycle overtook me (I was in a slow moving car) and cut in front of me, screaming. Since I wasn't planning on running her down, I stopped. She dropped her bike on the pavement in front of my car, kick my bumper and ran up to my window screaming at me. She even punched my window. "You HAVE to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk!"

    I rolled down my window and replied, "You are neither a pedestrian, nor in the crosswalk." She took my picture, pictures of the kids and wife and cussed me out while getting back on her bike. How annoying. As I glanced back, her children were waiting for her back at the crosswalk as she tore down the street leaving them behind.

    I looked back at my kids and said: "Don't ever behave like that." For the rest of the ride, my kids tallied the wrongness. Riding down the middle of one street. No helmet. Blowing off a stop sign. Cutting me off. Stopping in traffic. Kicking and punching the car. Swearing at me. Taking photos of me, my wife, the kids. And she left her own kids unattended back at the crosswalk. What the heck?

    I am 99% certain I have seen her before, in early summer slightly less annoying but still displaying some of the same... I don't know... aggression?
    Solfe

  11. #3611
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    I encountered yet another numbskull on a bicycle as I was entering a parking lot. He was approaching from my right and I fully expected him to either go straight across or make a left turn toward the road I had just left. I pulled to my right and stopped to give him plenty of room. He turned hard left and squeezed by on my right, in the narrow gap between my car and the curb.

  12. #3612
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    I was very much annoyed at how CNN kept a BREAKING NEWS banner and that crawl along the bottom of the screen displaying unrelated topics, while covering the arrival of the late President Bush's remains at Texas A&M. It detracted from the dignity of the occasion. On the flip side this same company had live streaming on their website without that clutter, and without commentary. As a veteran of thousands of military funeral services, I could really appreciate what the various military bands and honor guards were doing in honoring their deceased Commander in Chief while watching this uncluttered coverage.

  13. #3613
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    CNN also had a banner cover the guns used for the salute when the presidentís casket arrived at The Capitol. This wasnít a live shot, but the replay for their evening program.



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  14. #3614
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I was very much annoyed at how CNN kept a BREAKING NEWS banner and that crawl along the bottom of the screen displaying unrelated topics, while covering the arrival of the late President Bush's remains at Texas A&M. It detracted from the dignity of the occasion. On the flip side this same company had live streaming on their website without that clutter, and without commentary. As a veteran of thousands of military funeral services, I could really appreciate what the various military bands and honor guards were doing in honoring their deceased Commander in Chief while watching this uncluttered coverage.
    I cannot stand the visual noise of those banners, or the dynamic background graphics of the newsrooms with their constantly changing patterns unrelated to the subject of the broadcast. I wish they'd all just stop it right now! Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should. These graphic displays are all so pathetically shallow.

  15. #3615
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    Pathetically shallow sums up my opinion of 90% of the news media out there today.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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